Restaurants & Bars 8

Marrakesh Restaurant (Tampa)

CFishman | Aug 27, 200907:38 PM

The new French-Moroccan restaurant in Koba's former location at 2402 S. Macdill opened earlier this week. I never went to Koba's but the place now has a distinctly Moroccan feel to the interior with banquet seating and traditional Moroccan tables and stools. More important than the authentic "feel" is the authentic food. For appetizers, our party shared an eggplant dish and a soup. We were expecting the eggplant to be some variation on babagnoush but it turned out to be chopped and marinated. It was served with a small warm roll. Both the eggplant and the roll were excellent. The harira soup was also good. It was a thick soup similar to a chicken noodle soup (but according to the menu there was no chicken in it). That comparison doesn't do it justice but I am at a loss to describe it in more detail. The soup was served with a funky wood ladle which made it fun to share. For entrees we all had tagines: cornish game hen, lamb, and beef. All were extremely good but I thought my lamb was the best. The lamb, which was in big chunks of shank meat, was perfectly tender and juicy. Accompanying the lamb were prunes, apricots, nuts and a hard-boiled egg. I really enjoyed the dish. The lamb was full of flavor. For dessert we shared a white chocolate and passion fruit mousse, which was again excellent. They are starting off with a limited menu that for the moment does not include Moroccan desserts. Apparently that will be remedied soon. The tagines are $18. The quality of the food is so good that I have a hard time questioning that price. It may, however, be a little steep for the current economic climate. They are still figuring out the menu and operations, so there will be an opportunity to adjust if necessary. We were told that a lunch service is in the works as is a late night service with small plates and nargila outside. I am delighted that our culinary world in Tampa continues to expand. I hope they will find the clientele that they deserve.

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